Martin and Lewis were an American comedy duo, comprising singer Dean Martin (as the "straight man") and comedian Jerry Lewis (as his stooge). The pair worked together in nightclubs, on radio and television, and film from 1946 until 1956.
NBC Radio aired Season One of the Martin and Lewis Show in 1949-1950 and Season Two in 1951-1952. The hiatus came about because NBC was disappointed in the radio show's first-season ratings and was having difficulty securing sponsors (a subject of some first-season jokes on the show), and the show had very high production expenses; the network was losing too much money on it. M&L were unwilling to renegotiate their contract to reduce production costs, so NBC decided not to renew the radio show for what would have been a second season beginning in mid-1950.
Instead NBC moved M&L for fall 1950 to the rapidly-growing TV side where Jerry's physical comedy figured to play better. M&L were among four rotating co-hosts of the Colgate Comedy Hour. That show did better, and their movie career took off, and NBC and M&L agreed to terms for two more seasons on the radio that included sponsorship after the unusual one-year hiatus beginning in mid-1951. They also continued to co-host the Colgate Comedy Hour on TV for several more seasons.
By mid-1953 when the M&L radio show was not renewed for a fourth season, radio generally was in ratings free-fall compared to TV. During the mid-1950s, many long-running expensive radio shows transitioned to TV (see Jack Benny), or slashed production costs (see Fibber McGee and Molly), mainly because advertisers saw better bang for their marketing buck on TV.
As you can tell by show dates, there are M&L radio episodes that have not survived, but there is no entirely missing season.
Some old-time radio comedies aren't very funny anymore to me, but many of the M&L episodes, particularly in Seasons Two and Three when the show consistently used writers Ed Simmons and Norman Lear (who also wrote M&L movie scripts) still hold up quite well today in my opinion.
The early episodes had their moments but are overall more miss than hit for me and apparently for many critics and listeners back at that time as well, as the show got off to a slow start in translating Dean and Jerry's very successful nightclub act to radio.
THANK YOU zacandan for sharing these shows with everyone.
November 3, 2019 Subject:
Thanks a bunch!
I had been searching for this in a better outlet since the dude who posts on youtube is, well, on youtube. It's crazy how young both of them sound here. How old were they, jeez!
August 11, 2019 Subject:
I am very grateful that you uploaded these precious memories!
January 14, 2018 Subject:
I've tried listening to this series several times, can't seem to get past the corny jokes, if you can call them jokes. The one bright spot in the show is Deans smooth singing.
September 19, 2016 Subject:
Re: That elusive 1950 set
Does it exist? My reading makes me doubt it. You be the judge. To quote one site:
"Though the first series of Martin and Lewis Show programs ended in January of 1950, by the Fall of 1950, NBC had re-signed the pair for their Colgate Comedy Hour over Television. The comedy-variety format called for rotating hosts. Beginning that Fall, Martin and Lewis began a series of rotating hosting appearances that eventually spanned five years--and 35 appearances.
"In an attempt to capitalize on their renewed investment in the comics, NBC reintroduced The Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis Show radio program in the Fall of 1951. The revised format returned to its roots, with the team performing sketches and Dean Martin performing one or two musical numbers before introducing their guest star for the remainder of the night's program."
Oh, and I love this set. Thanks for sharing.
August 4, 2015 Subject:
Where is the 1950 season?
Great collection of Martin and Lewis shows but one thing I don't understand is why there are no programs from the 1950 season?
March 16, 2013 Subject:
Safe to use in a short Film?
I have made a short film which is a nostalgic look at the 40s 50s era of Hollywood romantic comedies. I want to use some of the music, ads, comedy in the Martin & Lewis radio recordings...does anyone out there know if this is possible?
I do see that creative commons gives the ok...but am I missing something else?
May 30, 2012 Subject:
I am a student filmmaker at Regis University in Denver, CO. I want to use a track from the Martin and Lewis show in my movie and have it be legal to use in film festivals around the nation. The track I selected states that it is under the Creative Commons and is under the Public Domain. I imagine this means there are no rights reserved and I can use it safely for public screenings. On a more specific note, we want to use the #75 track with Vera Ellen. In the beginning of the broadcast Dean Martin sings "On Top of the World." Are we able to use that song from this track in the film or is there a separate copyright on that? Please let me know as soon as possible. If you do not know, is there a contact that may know?
April 17, 2012 Subject:
Another great OTR upload
Thanks so much for the upload! I cant wait to listen to these while doing my daily routine. I love OTR and I love martin and lewis. I have never heard there radio show before and thank u for uploading do many great episodes.
Your the best!
February 19, 2010 Subject:
Dean & Jerry Shine On Their Radio Show
This is a first rate program from the early career of Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. Both come across as very pleasant individuals, easy to listen to, and along with their banter between themselves and their guests, a very entertaining comedy program. The singing by Dean Martin is always pleasant and professionally done. My childhood family tuned in weekly to Dean and Jerry - a real treat to hear them again. My gratitude for airing these programs on the internet archives.